I. EXPLICATION EN LANGUE ANGLAISE
Comment upon the following passage from
by Daniel Defoe.
It was his younger Sisters Chamber, that I was in, and as there was no Body
in the House but the Maids below Stairs, he was it may be the ruder: In
short, he began to be in Earnest with me indeed; perhaps he found me a little
too easie, for God knows I made no Resistance to him while he only held
me in his Arms and Kiss'd me; indeed I was too well pleas'd with it, to
resist him much.
However as it were, tir'd with that kind of Work, we sat down, and there
he talk'd with me a great while; he said, he was charm'd with me, and that
he could not rest Night or Day till he had told me how he was in Love with
me; and if I was able to Love him again, and would make him happy, I should
be the saving of his Life; and many such fine things. I said little to him
again, but easily discover'd that I was a Fool, and that I did not in the
least perceive what he meant.
Then he walk'd about the Room, and taking me by the Hand, I walk'd with
him; and by and by, taking his Advantage, he threw me down upon the Bed,
and Kiss'd me there most violently; but to give him his Due, offer'd no
manner of Rudeness to me, only Kiss'd me a great while; after this he thought
he had heard some Body come up Stairs, so he got off from the Bed, lifted
me up, professing a great deal of Love for me, but told me it was all an
honest Affection, and that he meant no ill to me; and with that he put five
Guineas into my Hand, and went away down Stairs.
I was more confounded with the Money than I was before with the Love, and
began to be so elevated, that I scarce knew the Ground I stood on: I am
the more particular in this part, that if my Story comes to be read by any
innocent young Body, they may learn from it to Guard themselves against
the Mischiefs which attend an early Knowledge of their own Beauty; if a
young Woman once thinks herself Handsome, she never doubts the Truth of
any Man that tells her he is in Love with her; for if she believes herself
Charming enough to Captivate him, 'tis natural to expect the Effects of
This young Gentleman had fir'd his Inclinations as much as he had my vanity,
and as if he had found that he had an opportunity and was sorry he did not
take hold of it, he comes up again in half an Hour, or thereabouts, and
falls to Work with me again as before, only with a little less Introduction.
And First, when he enter'd the Room, he turn'd about, and shut the Door.
Mrs. Betty, said he, I fancy'd before, some Body was coming up Stairs, but
it was not so; however, adds he, if they find me in the Room with you, they
shan't catch me a Kissing of you; I told him I did not know who should be
coming up Stairs, for I believ'd there was no Body in the House but the
Cook and the other Maid, and they never came up those Stairs; well my Dear,
says he, 'tis good to be sure however; and so he sits down and we began
to Talk; and now, tho' I was still all on fire with his first visit, and
said little, he did, as it were, put Words in my Mouth, telling me how
passionately he lov'd me, and that tho' he could not mention such a thing
till he came to his Estate, yet he was resolv'd to make me happy then, and
himself too; that is to say, to Marry me, and abundance of such fine things,
which I poor Fool did not understand the drift of, but acted as if there
was no such thing as any kind of Love but that which tended to Matrimony;
and if he had spoke of that, I had no Room, as well as no Power to have
said No; but we were not come that length yet.
We had not sat long, but he got up, and stoping my very Breath with Kisses,
threw me upon the Bed again; but then being both well warm'd, he went farther
with me than Decency permits me to mention, nor had it been in my power
to have deny'd him at that Moment, had he offer'd much more than he did.
However, tho' he took these Freedoms with me, it did not go to that, which
they call the last Favour, which, to do him Justice, he did not attempt;
and he made that Self-denial of his a Plea for all his Freedoms with me
upon other Occasions after this: When this was over, he stay'd but a little
while, but he put almost a Handful of Gold in my Hand, and left me; making
Translate into English the following passage from
Le Journal d'une femme
by Octave MIRBEAU.
Ce n'est pas l'harmonie des traits, ni la pureté des lignes, qui crée pour
une femme la beauté d'un homme. C'est quelque chose de moins apparent, de
moins défini... une sorte d'affinité et, si j'osais... une sorte
d'atmosphère sexuelle, âcre, terrible ou grisante, dont certaines femmes
subissent, même malgré elles, la forte hantise... Eh bien, Joseph dégage
autour de lui cette atmosphère-là... L'autre jour, je l'ai admiré qui
soulevait une barrique de vin... Il jouait avec elle ainsi qu'un enfant
avec sa balle de caoutchouc. Sa force exceptionnelle, son adresse souple,
le levier formidable de ses reins, l'athlétique poussée de ses épaules,
tout cela m'a rendue rêveuse. L'étrange et maladive curiosité, faite de
peur autant que d'attirance, qu'excite en moi l'énigme de ces louches
allures, de cette bouche close, de ce regard impressionnant, se double
encore de cette puissance musculaire, de cette carrure de taureau.
Le Journal d'une femme de chambre
, Le Livre de Poche, éd.
Fasquelle, 1937, p.201.